Army chief says cluster bomb deaths "his responsibility"
Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Ljubiša Diković says the fact that two army NCOs died in a leftover NATO cluster bomb explosion was "his responsibility".Source: B92
The two Serbian Army (VS) members died when the device was activated in an area on Mt. Kopaonik. They were deployed there to clear the area of explosive devices left over from NATO's attacks on Serbia.
The Serbian Army chief and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić arrived at the site in the afternoon, where the general addressed reporters to say that he would "ask the defense minister to ascertain his responsibility".
Vučić reacted by saying that he would "speak with the chief of staff about that".
The minister also said that he had ordered an investigation into the accident, and added that the non-commissioned officers died from the bombs strewn across the area "during the crime that was committed against the people of Serbia", i.e., NATO's 1999 bombing campaign.
Vučić also noted that the deadly blast happened "on the day that a convention on the ban of cluster bombs was signed".
He also said that the two victims - identified as 36-year-old Slaviša Marković and 37-year-old Nebojša Milić - were exceptional and experienced professionals, engaged in a planned assignment, describing their deaths as a great loss to our army and our country.
The minister and the chief of staff will travel to the town of Prokuplje later today, where they will offer their condolences to the families of the two soldiers.